Flying Cigars Meet Wine

The wines of the weekend carry an obscure story that involves flying cigars and aliens.

September of 1954 a railway worker by the name of Marius Dewilde followed his barking dog outside to the train tracks. The New York Times Dispatch tells the story:

“PARIS: A spate of reports of extraterrestrial visitors to France, coming from regions where the wine is more noted for its strength than its vintage, spread yesterday [Sept. 14] with the speed of a space-cadet. Marius Dewilde, a metal worker who lives at Quarouble (Department of the Nord), made known yesterday that he had seen what seemed to be two Martian visitors at his garden gate last Friday night. They alighted from a cigar-like machine which came to rest on the railway just outside his domicile. M. Dewilde described the visitors as of small stature, clad in something resembling a deep-sea diver’s costume. They had the appearance of human beings, M. Dewilde continued, but when he approached them the machine in which they had arrived set forth with a green beam of light which paralyzed him. When he recovered his sensibilities the cigar was taking off and the two beings had disappeared. The authorities have since noted unusual marks on the cross ties of the railway as though they had been made by the tail skid of some flying machine.”

This spread to one of France’s finest wine regions, Chateauneuf-du-Pape (CDP). Locals were petrified and law makers were quick to act. They quickly passed a decree to keep aliens out of local skies and protect the vineyards. Below are the written out articles:

“Article 1. — The overflight, the landing and the takeoff of aircraft known as flying saucers or flying cigars, whatever their nationality is, are prohibited on the territory of the community.

Article 2. — Any aircraft, known as flying saucer or flying cigar, which should land on the territory of the community will be immediately held in custody.

Article 3. — The forest officer and the city policeman are in charge, each one in what relates to him, of the execution of this decree.”

Randall Grahm (wine maker) and his passion for venturing off the beaten path lead him to name two of his wines after unique history. Le Cigare Blanc and Le Cigare Volant are his first experiments dating back to the mid 1980’s with CDP varietals. Grahm is a celebrity in the wine world and getting your hands on his wines are truly a unique experience.

La Cigare Blanc is going to be a blend of Grenache Blanc and Roussanne. This 92 point wine is described best using the word tropical and stony. Partial malolactic fermentation gives it slight roundness which bring out some subtle creaminess.

Le Cigare Volant is a blend of Mourvedre, Grenache, Syrah, and Cinsault, aka your typical southern France blend. The Syrah, grown in Santa Maria Valley takes on qualities of Northern Rhone, tannic and meaty. Meanwhile the Mourvedre and Cinsault gives the wine pepperiness, fruit and aromatics. This 91 point wine will keep you coming back for more.

I had the extreme pleasure of tasting with Randall as he walked me through his work. I could see his passion and love for the art that is wine. Now it is my turn to walk you through two wines that took a gentleman years to perfect.

Cheers, see you Friday!


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